Californians Respond to Mass Murder by Buying Guns

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Photo by bjoern via Flickr

Mass shootings prompt Californians to binge on buying guns, according to the Los Angeles Times. A study published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine finds that in the six weeks following the 2012 mass murder at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., acquisitions of handguns in California alone ticked 53 percent higher than usual rates. And in the six weeks following the 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, in which 14 were killed and 22 seriously wounded, handgun purchases in the state increased 41 percent over normal sales volumes. The spurt was especially dramatic in San Bernardino, where gun sales rose by 85 percent in the six weeks following the rampage.

The additional 53,000 handguns that found their way into California households following the Newtown and San Bernardino murders represent a tiny fraction of the estimated 30 million firearms privately owned statewide. But the study suggests that mass shootings are prompting the introduction of handguns into households that had never had them before, and spurring gun ownership among people — including women and Latinos — who have rarely bought them in the past.

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